PTS Operations Centre fully established in new premises

PTS Operations Centre fully established in new premises

Data and data traffic will be a central feature in verifying compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) once the Treaty enters into force. Key elements of the CTBT global verification regime are already in test mode operation at the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Data arrive from International Monitoring System (IMS) stations all around the world to be processed at the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna. The number of certified IMS facilities keeps increasing and passed the 200 mark in March 2007. Equally, the number of recipients of data and data products continues to be on the rise. In May 2007, over 800 authorized users in more than 90 States benefited from the distribution of raw monitoring data and data analysis products.

Data traffic at the Commission's Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) amounts to many gigabytes a day. The movement of such high volumes of data requires some policing to ensure easy traffic. The Operations Centre assumes that function. In March 2007 this central control facility moved to its newly refurbished premises within the PTS. State of the art technology is applied to watch over every step in the movement of verification data: their generation at the monitoring station, their transmission to the IDC in Vienna, their processing at the IDC and, finally, their distribution to recipients in States Signatories.

For the first time since the PTS was created in 1997, all these functions are now centralized in one facility. As required by the Treaty, the IDC's Operations Centre surveys the functioning of the entire system or its state of health. On large screens staff can verify the status of every operational IMS station, the acquisition of data from these stations, the processing at the IDC and the status of Global Communication Infrastructure (GCI) installations. Colour codes reflect on the respective operational status of all components of this system. Any disruption in the service, such as power outage at a monitoring station or malfunction of a communication link, triggers an alert. Troubleshooting processes are launched immediately to solve the problem.

Once the Operations Centre was fully established in its new premises, Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth invited key office holders of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission to tour this new facility which includes a control room, a small meeting room and a multi-media room. The latter was used prior and during the recent Preparatory Committee session for the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to present the PTS' latest feature. So far, close to 200 delegates, journalists and representatives of non-governmental organizations have acquainted themselves with the functioning of the Operations Centre.